Bil Lepp, The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers)

The PEN/Steven Kroll Award was established in memory of Steven Kroll to acknowledge the distinct literary contributions of picture book writers. Kroll, a former PEN Trustee and long-time Chair of PEN’s Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee, was also a prolific author of books for children. His 100th and final book was published in March 2012.

The annual award was presented for the first time in 2012 and confers a prize of $5,000. It acknowledges an American or U.S.-based writer for exceptional text illustrated in a picture book. The winner will be chosen by a panel of three judges, who will be selected by PEN’s Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee in consultation with Kroll’s widow, Kathleen Beckett.

2014 Judges

Mac Barnett, Ted Lewin, and Elizabeth Winthrop

From the Judges’ Citation

With sprightly humor and clever wordplay, Bil Lepp tells an engaging tale of a king who affirms the notion of simplicity. Readers will delight in the comic rhymes and inspired vocabulary. A moral is there, but deftly buried in the wild contest between two opposing rulers, one who relies on power and might, while the other turns to things as small as buttons that pop and pants that drop.


Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman
The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols


Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman
Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo (Wordsong), Nancy Bo Flood
Look Up! Bird-Watching In Your Own Backyard (Candlewick Press), Annette LeBlanc Cate
The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols
Bugs In My Hair! (The Blue Sky Press), David Shannon
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? (Henry Holt and Company), Tanya Lee Stone

Past winners

Patricia McKissack, Michelle Markel

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.